Sybil is far too used to the privileges that an upper class society brings, certainly more than her husband, as she is of higher social standing. Sybil looks down on the lower classes and blindly accepts the stereotypes attached to them including the idea that people of the lower classes were somehow unhuman, she mocks the idea that “girls of that class” would refuse stolen money in reference to Eva Smith. It seems that, to Sybil, status and respectability is more important than anything else, including her children. It is this view that keeps Sybil even blinder than her husband. Priestley uses Sybil’s detached manner to great effect in showing how Mrs Birling does not understand her own children. Like Arthur, Sybil is so unfeeling that she fails to see the troubles faced by her children and seems somewhat uninterested in their lives. Mrs Birling, like her husband, also abused her power, authority and influence to ensure that Eva Smith was not helped by the Brimley Women’s Charity Organisation. She admits herself as being ‘prejudiced against her case’ because Eva called her ‘Mrs Birling’. Mrs Birling felt that this was a deliberate sign of ‘gross impertinence’ and insolence. Yet, despite Eva’s death, she still felt no remorse of compassion. Mrs Birling defends her decision before the Inspector, stating ‘Yes, it was’ her influence, as a prominent member of the community, that finally refused to give Eva Smith any help, insisting that Eva Smith simply did not make the right claims. Mrs Birling intimates that she was a liar and disrespectful and thus justifies her decision to have the claim refused.
Mrs birling’s actions display deceitfulness but it is not deceit towards others. Indeed, she is one of the most honest characters in the play in the sense that she fully admits how she did nothing to help Eva Smith and does not try to hide this from the inspector. But she is happy to admit her actions because she sees no wrong in what she did. Priestly wants the...
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